EDUCATION: Varsity test cancelled

EDUCATION: Varsity test cancelled – allegations of questions leaked, corruption from within apparent, student’s year lost ?!!

The SFI demonstration on Monday - at University of Gour Banga ?!! (Surajit Roy)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Malda, Aug. 2: The authorities of Gour Banga University have cancelled the Part I examination of the third paper in compulsory English after allegations surfaced that the questions had been leaked.

The test was held on Saturday. This is the second exam that was cancelled by the varsity this year after the third paper of elective Bengali, the test for which was held on Friday, was scrapped for the same reason.

On Saturday, the teacher-in-charge of Chanchol College, Arati Saha, lodged a complaint with the local police that the questions of the third paper of elective Bengali had been leaked. Anita Chakrabarty, the teacher-in-charge of the institution, is on leave and Saha is in charge in her absence.

The same day, the college authorities deposited 18 packets at the police station stating that they contained elective Bengali question papers that were purportedly leaked.

But the college went ahead with the compulsory English test on Saturday even though four packets of question papers were missing.

Yesterday, varsity registrar Apurba Chakrabarty went to the police station and found the four missing packets of English question papers among the 18 packets.

Both the examinations have been cancelled and the new dates will be declared later.

“We found four torn packets containing compulsory English question papers among the elective Bengali papers that were submitted,” Chakrabarty said. He said an explanation has been sought from Anita Chakrabarty. “If she remains silent, we will show-cause her.”

A group of students under the SFI organised a demonstration on the varsity premises today, demanding that the offenders be punished.

Twenty one colleges are affiliated to the university and 950 students had taken the English examination along with 500 examinees who appeared for the elective Bengali test.

“A case has been started for criminal breach of trust. The guilty can be sentenced for seven years,” said Malda police chief Bhuban Mondol.

MEANWHILE

Party packs Presidency VC panel – political interference not rewarding competence ?!!

The Chosen Three - good for Presidency ?!!

OUR BUREAU

Calcutta, Aug. 2: The Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government has dipped into its inner circle to pick three academics who will find the first vice-chancellor of Presidency University.

The choice of the three nominees makes it clear that the CPM will grant Presidency “freedom” but the reins will be held by a Left loyalist.

Economist Amiya Bagchi will head the panel that will have as members the former director of ISI, Calcutta, Sankar Pal; and the Jadavpur University vice-chancellor, P.N. Ghosh.

The chief minister had acted with rare alacrity to help his alma mater break free from government-party control after Mamata Banerjee asked at The Telegraph-Calcutta Club debate last November “why the Left government had failed to do so in over three decades”.

But the drive to rescue Presidency appears to have remained restricted to passing a bill that allows it to be a university.

Bagchi, Pal and Ghosh have impeccable academic records. There is no reason to doubt their proficiency in their fields, but this was one opportunity for Bhattacharjee to show that the Left could look beyond what was readily available. He squandered that chance.

Bagchi has been associated with the party for over four decades. “Our party had once thought of making him an MP, given his involvement. He is now the director of the Institute of Development Studies, which organises seminars on subjects close to our party’s heart,” a CPM leader said.

In a Bengal where the Anil Biswas model of education rules, becoming a vice-chancellor without being in Alimuddin Street’s good books is impossible. JU vice-chancellor Ghosh’s credential, thus, is impeccable even beyond academics.

Pal is known to be close to finance minister Asim Dasgupta’s brother Atish. The finance minister’s twin enjoys the personal support of the chief minister, whom he knows from their Presidency days.

Asked if the move to pack the committee with CPM faithful could lead to the selection of a mediocre person with strong party links, a state committee member said: “Presidency University needs a VC with good academic credentials. But it is also to be seen whether the chosen one is supportive of the state government’s policies. A person from a different school of thought could be worrisome for us.”

It is this worry that pulled Bengal from a more glorious academic past as the CPM led by Biswas continued with the demolition job begun by his guru Promode Dasgupta. “Biswas used to pick and choose VCs. If that’s done again by the CPM nominees, Presidency will have a mediocre VC,” said an economist.

Bhattacharjee seems to have blown the chance to get the best from Bengal, from Nobel laureate Amartya Sen to Kaushik Basu, the former Cornell University professor who is now an adviser to the Union finance ministry.

Both Sen and Basu are Presidencians. Basu had earlier told The Telegraph how keen he was to see Presidency reclaim its former glory. “I would not mind,” he had said when asked if he would agree to join a panel for Presidency.

Several Presidency teachers expressed doubts whether those on the panel were in the know of the best models of education around the world at the moment.

“The panel has been asked to submit the list of suitable candidates to the government within September 3,” said Satish Tiwary, principal secretary, higher education.

The panel’s shortlist will be sent to the governor, the chancellor, who will pick the vice-chancellor.

The notification on the search committee does not mention the number of candidates the panel is supposed to recommend. Normally, up to three candidates are named.

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